Predicting Gardens and Clotheslines

While waiting for the Farm & Fleet technician to mount the new tires on our old SUV today, I spent some time in the gardening aisles. As I chose a few of my favorite, easy-to-grow, "early bird" seeds (spinach, peas, and lettuce), I thought of all my market gardener friends and hoped they were much farther along in their spring preparations.

My garden usually includes the right mix of vegetables to keep my husband and I up to our eyes in fresh spinach and lettuce salads for the summer, enough cherry tomatoes to eat off the vine while weeding, a few plum tomato plants to "put up" and store in the cupboard alongside the canned venison (together, their the yummiest chili you'll ever eat!), and some hills of blue moon pumpkins to sell at the cheese shop in Davis, Ill.

This year, I'm tempted to put the whole garden in pumpkins and rely on weekly trips to the farmers markets for fresh produce. It would certainly take less time, but I'd miss out on the satisfaction of extending a $1.89 pack of lettuce seed into a whole summer of salads. The sheer economics of growing your own food will (I predict!) have many, many more people tilling a small patch of dirt in their backyards this spring. As more of them gain an appreciation for the work and a taste for the fresh produce, I suspect market vendors will see more customers, fewer of whom will complain about pricing and blemishes.

I further predict that while those folks are in their backyards with their spades, they'll pace off a few yards and dig holes for clothesline poles. When it comes to the clothesline, it's not really the energy savings that I relish, it's that lovely view of sheets flapping in the wind and the sweet smell of fresh air when you crawl into bed that night. Somehow those sweet sheets smell sweeter after an afternoon of pulling weeds and a dinner of homegrown vegetables.


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